As far as side hustles go, knife sharpening is one of the easiest to start. It’s also one of the easiest to market because every household and a good number of businesses own knives. When starting out, it can be tricky to know how much to charge when you sharpen a knife.
You should charge up to $3 per inch (2.54 cm) for knife sharpening. Charging $1 per inch (2.54 cm) is the most common pricing model in this business. You can decide to charge differently for each type of knife; you may charge $4 for a paring knife and $8 for an 8-inch (20.32-cm) chef’s knife.
Read on to see which factors you should consider to arrive at prices that best fit your situation. I’ll also show standard prices for different types of knives to give you a starting point for your pricing model.
Charging According to the Type of Knife
Charging per inch (2.54 cm) for sharpening may be simpler if you are not dealing with a wide variety of knives. For example, if you mostly sharpen knives for households, you’ll mostly have to deal with the same kind of knife.
However, if your client base comprises both households and businesses, you might find yourself dealing with many types of knives. In such a case, pricing according to the type of knife may be the best way.
Below is a table showing standard rates for various types of knives:
|Type of Knife or Instrument||Cost|
|Knife with blade length > 6 inches (15.24 cm)||$9|
|Knife with blade length < 6 inches (15.24 cm)||$7|
5 Factors To Consider When Deciding How Much To Charge for Knife Sharpening
Knowing the right amount to charge for your knife sharpening services can be tricky. You want to be fairly compensated for the work you put in, but you also want to set a price that will get you customers.
Considering each of the factors below can help you choose the most appropriate price:
- Cost of wear on the stones
- The number of knives you can sharpen
- The condition of the blade
I’ll analyze each factor below.
Most people offer knife sharpening services as a side hustle, meaning that they have a day job. If that’s what you are doing, you can only dedicate a few hours daily to the business.
You want to be fairly compensated for that time. Ideally, you should make at least as much per hour as you do in your day job. However, especially when starting up, you’ll probably not be able to reach the hourly rate of your day job.
Still, the time you take to sharpen a knife is crucial when deciding how much to charge. The more time it takes, the more you should charge.
Since the time taken is affected by factors such as the ease of doing the job, consider factors such as the condition and size of the knife, which determine how long it will take to sharpen it.
Your location will affect the amount of money you can charge in several ways.
First, It will determine the type of customers you attract. Depending on where you are, you might attract more businesses as clients. You might also be in a high-income neighborhood where people can comfortably pay more.
If there are other knife-sharpening services in your area, it might be a good idea to charge what they charge. If you decide to take your price higher, you shouldn’t go too far, and you should provide clear additional value.
You could charge extra if your location has a high demand for knife-sharpening services.
#3 Cost of Wear on the Stones
This may not be as significant as time, but you should still factor it into your price. The amount you charge should cater to your labor and the cost of replacing the stones you use.
Aside from helping you cover the cost of replacing the stones, the money you make should help you upgrade your stones.
As you start, you might find it easier to use standard, affordable stones. However, as you progress and get more work, you might want to upgrade to higher-quality stones.
#4 The Number of Knives You Can Sharpen
Using a stone to sharpen knives can help you make the blades as sharp as possible. However, with a stone, sharpening many knives can be time-consuming.
An alternative is to do it with a specially-made knife-sharpening machine powered by a motor.
Using a machine makes it easier to sharpen the blades. Instead of applying pressure as you move the knife against the stone, you just push a button and pass the knife over a belt. Modern machines come with variable speed settings, allowing you to effortlessly increase the speed of the belt.
With one blade, the advantage of a motor-powered machine may be insignificant. But with many blades, the machine wins.
Apart from ease, another advantage of a machine is that it allows you to use less time on a blade. You can thus sustainably charge less per blade.
Pro Tip: Use the machine and finish on a stone if you want to enjoy the best of both worlds.
#5 The Condition of the Blade
If the blade is damaged, it will need more work, and you should charge more to sharpen it. Blades can have broken tips or deep dents, requiring more time and effort from you as the sharpener.
Blades can also develop a blunt profile that requires re-profiling, usually as a result of bad sharpening or too much sharpening. If your blade has a blunt profile, some material must be removed from the blade to allow the edge to be sharpened properly.
To know how much to charge for your knife sharpening services, you should consider factors like the length and type of the knife.
You can charge per inch (2.54 cm), which customers may see as a simpler model. If you do, it’s a good idea to have a minimum price. Alternatively, you can charge according to the type of knife.
The pricing model you choose should cater to the cost of materials that wear out, such as stones. It should also compensate you for your skill and time—and hopefully boost your income in a tangible way.